Jacobs defends vote against impeachment of Trump, accused of inciting an attempted insurrection
President Donald J. Trump was impeached for alleged crimes while in office for a second time today and Rep. Chris Jacobs did not join his house colleagues in accusing the president of inciting an attempted insurrection on Jan. 6.
Jacobs released the following statement:
“The events of last week were horrific, and the violence we witnessed has no place in our democracy. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. I want to thank the brave men and women of the United States Capitol Police who showed true heroism while protecting me, my colleagues, and thousands of staff members and aides.
“Our nation is clearly divided. Healing this division and moving the country forward should be our first and foremost priority. This rushed impeachment proceeding accomplishes none of these goals, especially given that the President has agreed to an orderly and peaceful transition of power on January 20th, 2021.
“Impeachment has been used rarely in our nation’s history, and when it has been used the House of Representatives has carried out a full and deliberate process complete with an investigation, hearings led by the Judiciary Committee, and a mark-up of the articles of impeachment before a vote is called. We witnessed none of that today. The process was rushed, avoided due process, and set a dangerous precedent to further politically weaponize impeachment.
“Because of the abbreviated process, the short length left in the President’s term, and his commitment to a peaceful transition, I voted against the articles of impeachment today. Our nation has significant challenges we still need to address – including the on-going COVID-19 crisis.
“Our focus should be on tackling these very serious and pressing issues while we work to heal a deeply divided nation. Now is the time to move forward, not take additional divisive action at a time when our country cannot bear it.
“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our American democracy; it is what sets us apart. Now more than ever, I believe all Americans need to see that transition process occur, as it always has, to reaffirm that our democracy is still strong, healthy, and unbreakable.
Trump invited his supporters to Washinton, D.C., on Jan. 6, the date both houses of Congress were to meet in joint session to certify the Electoral College votes, to "stop the steal." At the rally, Trump falsely claimed he won the election by millions of votes, by a landside, and told the crowd of supporters that they needed to march to the Capitol Building and Cheer members of Congress who stood strong with him but suggested VP Mike Pence wouldn't have "the courage" to send certification back to the states.
“We are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” he said, “and we are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them — because you will never take back our country with weakness.”
Members of the crowd set up a gallows outside the capital and were overheard saying they intended to hang Pence.
A police officer was killed during the riot and another committed suicide afterward. Three other people died, including a Trump supporter who was shot by police and one who was trampled to death by other Trump supporters.
Since Jan. 6, dozens of Trump supporters have been arrested by the FBI for their alleged participation in forcefully entering the capital building.
Last night, we emailed Jacobs the following question: If inciting an attempted insurrection isn't an impeachable offense, what is? Here's his response received earlier today before the impeachment vote:
“This process is rushed, absent due process or Judiciary hearings, and sets a dangerous precedent for politically weaponizing the process of impeachment. Given the President’s commitment to a peaceful transition and the short amount of time left in his term, this process will bring about more division at a time when our country cannot bear any more. Instead, we all need to mindful of our rhetoric and work to move our nation forward, and those who committed violent acts last week must be brought to justice.”
Trump becomes the first president in history impeached twice. In the first impeachment, the Senate did not vote to convict Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. There are legal scholars who maintain that the Senate does not have to act on the impeachment (equivalent to an indictment by a grand jury) before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
Near the end of the riot on Jan. 6, Trump praised his supporters, saying " We love you; you're very special," he added, later saying: "But go home, and go home in peace."
Later, he condemned the violence and a few days later said the rioters were likely Antifa, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had received intelligence briefings on the riot, told Trump wasn't true.
Tonight, after his second impeachment, Trump delivered a pre-recorded speech and called for calm.
"No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag," he said.
"Now I am asking everyone who has ever believed in our agenda to be thinking of ways to ease tensions, calm tempers, and help to promote peace in our country," he said.